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The Belgian magazine HUMO organises a two-yearly talent hunt under the name Humo's Rock Rally and gives chances to acts like the Definitivo's, Ex Hole, The Singles, The Employees (with guitarist Kloot Per W), The Strings, The Chrome, The ezistance en Luna Twist. The first band to win in 1978 is Once More with Dirk Blanchart who would later go solo. Important figures for Belgian New Wave are guitarist Jean Marie Aerts and singer Arno. With their band TC Matic they stretch the boundaries of pop. Jean Marie will produce many Belgium artists after the split with Arno. More traditional rock is made by the Kreuners.

In Wallonie singer Jo Lemaire enters with her band Flouze. She would score an international hit with her version of the Gainsbourg classic Je Suis Venue Te Dire Que Je M'En Vais. Other wallonian chansoniers are André Bialek and Pierre Rapsat. Marc Moulin was the driving producer behind singer Lio who has a major hit with Amoureux Solitaire. Singer/songwriter Jacques Duvall is responsible for a lot of Lio’s lyrics and also has a succesfull solo career (hit Comme la Romaine (83)). More new wave artists are Muriel Dacq, Léopold Nord et Vous, Gansters d’amour and Marc Morgand who would evolve as the Wallonian Elvis Costello. Folk, jazz and pop is mixed by singer Maurane. Most Wallonian artists focus on the French market. But one of the biggest Wallonian successen comes from young starlet Sandra Kim in 1986 when she wins the Eurovision with 'J'aime la vie' which becomes a huge international hit.

An essential music label in the Belgian pop scène is Crammed Disc. Crammed was founded in 1980 by Marc Hollander of Aksak Maboul and has since released over 400 albums (including for example the Congolese band Konono n°1's Congotronics 2005 ep). As well as Crammed Discs, sub-labels include CramWorld for contemporary and archival world music releases, Made to Measure for soundtracks and specially commissioned works, and SSR for dance music. Bands like Tueurs de la Lune de Miel, Hector Zazou, Minimal Compact, Minimal Man and avant garde collective Tuxedomoon find refuge here.

In the avant garde the composer, vocalist, pianist, guitarist, and musicologist Wim Mertens can’t stay unmentioned. In the tradition of Univers Zero and Philip Glass Mertens is best known for his opus Struggle for Pleasure. He is also well known for his piece Maximizing the Audience, which was composed for Jan Fabre's play The Power of Theatrical Madness, which premiered in 1984 in Venice, Italy. The title hints to his refusal to be placed in the Minimal music niche. Mertens also records with his combo Soft verdict in the eighties.

Marc Moulin returns in the eighties as electronic artist with his version of the German electronic scene of Kraftwerk. With his band Telex he even tries the Eurovision but for years stays misunderstood. The monotone Moskow Diskow would later be very influential for house music as electronic body music. Arbeid Adelt!, a duo around Luc van Acker and Marcel Vanthilt, and Twee Belgen are another electronic group. More dark and harder electrowave is made by Front 242, a genre they themselves describe as Electronic Body Music. Together with Poésie Noire and The Neon Judgement they lay the foundations for the Industrial genre.

Restarts at the end of the eighties are ex-Zebra-bass player Chery Derycke who tries with his group Elisa Waut (around singers Elsje and Hans Helewaut). With no success as considered to weird. More succesfull is singer Bea van der Maat with Won Ton Ton (formerly Chow Chow).

In 1988 house music picks up on the electrowave. Producer Jo Bogaert’s sees the posibilities and has international hits with his project Technotronic, the biggest one being Pump up the Jam. Typically Belgian is New beat. Instead of making the beats per minute faster (as usual at the time) they slow them down. Acts like Amnesia, Praga Khan and The Confetti’s have shortlived success but the genre is more a cult phenomenon then a genre that sticks. Only Praga Khan survives the next decade with more techno and breakbeat electronic music.



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